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Friday, May 28, 2010

Being brave here...outfits :)

I decided I wanted to post outfits I wear every now and again, whenever I am feeling brave (I find it intimidating for some reason!). Or whenever I actually take the time and effort to really put something together! Let's face it, I don't feel like dressing up every single day, and I don't apologize for it. :) The other day, I had on a cute floral dress and took the time to think out the other pieces as well. The photos were taken at the end of the day when the sun was fading fast...unfortunately, I had no cute scenery or much light, and they all came out dark. Oh, well! I'll post one anyway that I edited a bit to make it lighter. I got one halfway decent cell phone pic inside but without the jacket or earrings. You can see one of my doggies' snouts as he peers up at me. They always try to get in pictures. :)

 And here's a closeup of the tights and shoes.

The dress is from Forever 21. The shoes came from Charlotte Russe a couple years ago, and the tights, well, I think I've had those since high school!!

Here are the other 2 fave things I recently got from F21 (taken in the dressing room) CUTE is that romper?!!! I never thought I'd own one, honestly. Until I saw this one, and I had to have it!!!

New Target wedges to go with the green dress:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Intern Lauren needs us! :) - part 1

image by amy geliebter on flickr

So lately we've been posting a lot about outer beauty-related things. And that's part of what TCN is about...I mean, we're girls, and we're pretty girly!! We love makeup, clothes, purses, shoes, jewelry, all that stuff!! And sometimes those kinds of things can help a girl start to feel a little better about herself or simply uplift her mood. And that's great! As long as those things don't take precedence over who you are on the inside. We know it sounds cliche. But it's true. Who wants to be beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside? The way you look is only one facet of who you are. It's fun to dress up and try to make yourself look better, and when you feel good about the way you look, you carry yourself differently. But it's not everything. We don't want to do nothing but "heavy" posts; we want this to be a place where you can come and have fun, get ideas, and share opinions. But every now and again, we wanna stop and point out that the real reason TCN exists is to help you feel better about YOU! :) While the two of us get together and joke about how awesomely amazing we are, and each other, we find our self-esteem actually improving...and that is why we started this little adventure, because maybe some of that'll rub off on you. :) This is gonna be a two-part hang with us!! :)

I think there are tons of cases of girls who are beautiful on the outside AND the inside but have no idea. I heard an interview with a radio intern named Lauren from Q100's The Bert Show. Granted, I have no idea what she actually looks like, BUT I'd be willing to bet she's a lot prettier than she thinks she is. I think that's the case with a lot of girls and women. They spend so much time wishing they looked like someone else and emulating other people that they can get completely lost and not have a strong sense of their own identity. I'm not saying that's necessarily the case with her. But I've heard two interviews with her on the radio where she alluded to not feeling good enough about herself. I've been trying to come up with the right words before delving into a blog post. And I'm still not sure I have them. :) But I'll try. Let me first say that KameraWhore and I are NOT counselors, nor are we experts. We can only speak from our personal experiences. And we still struggle with our images of ourselves; we're NORMAL! But when it becomes something more like an obsession, that's a good indication that you need to make a change.

In the first interview I heard with intern Lauren, she discussed how she was extremely concentrated on her food choices, how often she ate, how often she worked out, and her weight. The staff seemed like they were a bit worried that she might have an eating disorder and actually had her take a quiz to see if they could tell. She discusses in the second interview I heard (you can listen to it here) how she feels like people are constantly talking about her and is very self-conscious when she walks into a room. It's to the point where she can't even have a good time because she's wondering what people are thinking about her hair, clothes, etc., and judging her. She says she adjusts how she acts toward someone by how they act toward her first, so it's not only that she's worried about what people think of how she looks but also what she's like as a person. I'd like to point out that I am very proud of her for sharing her struggles so openly, because it's leaving her vulnerable to what others think of her, one of the very things she's afraid of, and yet she has the courage to talk about it! That's very brave and honest and real of her, and I'm sure many out there feel the same way she does. But it sounds like she's exhausted by the anxiety of constantly comparing herself to other women and having to work SO HARD to keep up an image, without ever really being sure if she's "okay" or not. 

This is why I wrote the "Narcissa" story on our web site and why I added the part at the end about why I wrote it. I didn't talk about how beautiful Narcissa is in the story because I think I'm that beautiful. I wrote it that way 1) because it's a rewrite of the Greek myth about Narcissus and Echo, and the main character is supposed to be regarded as exceptionally attractive, and 2) because, like the old song, everyone is beautiful in their own way, and the story is largely about me coming to accept who I am and how I look simply because it's ME, and I can think I'm beautiful simply for being ME. 

You can look at tons of models and quickly realize they're not "conventionally beautiful." Sometimes the most interesting of faces is the one that doesn't look like everyone else's or what people typically deem to be attractive. And what makes you most attractive is how you carry yourself and present yourself. If you have a healthy perspective of yourself, that's going to come out in the way you walk and the way you talk to people. 

Lauren is, I believe, 23. I know I felt the same way at her age, and I'm not saying that I never feel ANY of those things now. I do! But as I'm nearing 30 this year, I'm realizing that I have never liked who I am as a person or liked the way I look more than I do now. It doesn't mean I'm full of myself. It means I'm learning more and more what is great about me, what makes me special, what I can offer the world that no one else can. Jenn Hobby, one of the DJs, made a similar remark to Lauren that she thought some of these issues would be resolved with a little more age. I really hope so! I'm afraid she might be spending her early 20s worried about the way she looks and how she's perceived more than she's LIVING. 

There is so much out there to do, to experience, that to let yourself be held back by your misguided opinions of yourself is such a waste of your precious time and energy. Make a promise right now not to fall victim to that! It's easier said than done to completely change a mindset you've had for as long as you can remember...but I'm proof that it can be done! :)

to be continued...

Glamour iPhone app review - Ask a Stylist!

We discovered Glamour magazine's iPhone app where you can submit outfit photos and get a stylist's suggestions on it or even submit two outfits for them to pick their favorite for whatever occasion you're headed off to. So we each submitted a photo of ourselves to test it out! We chose the same stylist, Samantha Bynes from True Religion jeans. I really liked her personal style description. We both got some good suggestions from are screen shots of our experience. All in all, I really like this app, and it's neat feeling like you have a personal stylist at the ready anytime you need some help tweaking an outfit. They get back to you almost immediately, and there are several stylists to choose from.

Here's Samantha's style bio:

Here's the photo and question I submitted:

And here's her response:

While I don't wear real leather, I do like the texture variation of manmade to add interest to an ensemble. Loved her suggestions.

Now it's KameraWhore's turn!

Here's the photo and question I submitted:

And here's her response:

Alright, well, firstly, I'd like to say that I was roughing it on the day I submitted this picture, so I was especially interested to read her ideas! I like the idea of a denim vest, but I can't help but wonder if it would be too much denim. I do like the laid back, hippie feel, though, that it might evoke. I would have to see the pieces together. The layering of necklaces sounds like a good thing. I tend to stay away from yellow gold, but maybe the pop of color would be a good thing against my pale skin :), or would it not?

I must say, this little program is quite the confidence booster! I can be a skeptic at times, so I had to do some tests to check the validity of the "Ask a Stylist" app. The responses are fairly quick, and I wanted to see if it really was a human on the other end. I sent in a couple of random pics. The first was of my daughter in her neon yellow safety patrol vest (yes, she's super cool, and we know it!). Stylist Samantha's response: "Cute photo :) You look good enough to stop traffic!" Priceless. The next was of my husband, VainShane, standing shirtless in our living room. I thought I would really stump Sam on this one! Her response: "Cute'll look awesome and super hot!" Umm, okay, way to blow up his ego. But really, he'll love that, and if it makes him feel good about himself, then the app is a total success! In fact, it might just be time for me to submit another pic...
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Top 5 iPhone apps to make you look your hottest-to-trottest

I am in love with my iPhone. A little too much so, probably. It is my constant knows what I need before I even know I need aids me every time I am out and about...sigh, it's the greatest. :) I wanted one for sooo long, and KameraWhore and I finally got them at the same time a few months ago so as to be able to conduct business on them and social network from anywhere.

I thought I'd do a little entry on our favorite photo apps. They're so much fun to play around with and get different effects. I have decent Photoshop skills, but let's face it, that takes a crapload of time. Doing something on an app is so much less work! (Or, if you don't have an iPhone or need something that handles higher resolution photos and don't want to use Photoshop, try It's a pretty fabulous, and fun, web site where you can edit photos quickly and do all kinds of special effects to them!)

So here are our 5 top fave apps with an example of each!

1) Best Camera

Joy Williams, o favorite singer of mine, told me about this app, and for some reason I lagged behind on getting it until today. But it's really really cool! I like it so much that I actually put the regular camera app on the very last app page and put this one in its place on the first page. The camera functions just like the normal one does, but then you have features that change the colors and such of the picture that just make them look better than the plain old camera can. They look a little less like a cell phone pic. Me in no makeup - ahhhh!!!

2) Quad Cam

This is like a photo booth within iPhone. It takes a series of 4 or 8 photos in a row and packages them all together in a grid, and it looks really cool. It's what we used to take our "framed" photos and also what I used to show my e.l.f. haul. You can change the timer settings, as well as color/contrast. 

3) Lo-Mob

Hmm...this one might be our #1 fave. These are in no particular order anyway. It gives your photos a really cool vintage vibe, with tons of filters and frames to choose from. You can use the filters without the frames and vice versa as well. It really transforms your pictures into something extra cool! Our favorite filters/frames are usually the AE TTV Saturated and Desaturated. It adds speckles and "noise" to your photos to really make them look old, and the colors and effects are just so different and neat.

4) Hipstamatic

Joy told me about this one as well. (I kept asking her what apps she was using because her phone photos always look so awesome.) It comes with a couple of basic packages, and then you can add more for 99 cents each, which I did. There are so many combinations of coolness in this app. The only thing I wish were different about it: you can't take a picture and then go into the app to edit it. You have to choose your settings before you take the photo, and then that's that. But it's still really neat. It also has a vintagey vibe with old-school effects.

5) MoreBeaute

This is not a camera app but is a photo editing app. The main thing I like about it is that it is a way to make yourself look airbrushed without any effort. It smooths out the skin and makes it look more even and soft and kinda glowy.

And there you have it!

Friday, May 7, 2010

First batch of beauty reviews!

If you don't see pics in this blog entry in IE8, try a different browser! Not sure what's up...

LimeCrime lipsticks

I am a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE fan of this brand - I mean, HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE!!!! These are the brightest lipsticks you will find anywhere! I've been a follower of Doe Deere Blogazine for quite some time and thought I was gonna crap a brick when these lipsticks were finally launched by the lovely Doe herself. I have 8 out of the 10 currently available (more to be released soon!!), largely due to a VERY generous gift certificate from a lovely friend who knows what makes me tick! They range from movie star red to sky blue to creamsicle to black - you simply have to visit their web site to see them in all their glory. They go on opaque and smooth right from the tube, and they smell great and seem to be very conditioning. I've found with my full lip shape that it helps to use Sally Hansen Prep & Perfect Lipcare OR e.l.f. Lip Lock Pencil, a clear liner, before applying the lipstick, simply because these keep the color within the bounds of my shape. (So I guess this is three reviews in one!) But that's not to say you have to use those extra products to get a fabulous payoff. They are truly great on their own! When I wear these colors, I feel instantly more confident and creative and fabulous. They pick me up on the dreariest of days. The best reactions I've received when wearing these are: 1) when my aunt met me for lunch one day and said, "That's the brightest lipstick I've ever seen!" (meanwhile, she's wearing bright hot pink herself) and 2) when I met our other bestie, Bonarcissist, at the store, and she turned around and saw me and actually jumped back a little!! Awesome.

You just don't know how fantastic you can feel in sky blue lipstick until you try it. (By the way, that's the one I'm wearing in the photos for our "Narcissa" story on our web site, and the shade is wonderfully named "No, She Didn't!") Just about anyone can pull off these colors; it's all in the way you present yourself and the way you tie your whole look together. They're $16 a tube and worth every cent.

Besides all this, Doe is a really, genuinely nice person who donates to animal rescue, and her blog is filled with so much interesting stuff and so much GLEE that I don't know who could resist it. There's something inspiring at every turn!

Olay Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer

So...I am nearing 30. And that's okay. But I started noticing a few more lines in my forehead and around the corners of my eyes than I'd like. So with much dismay but also hope, I bought my first anti-wrinkle product. Come to find out, KameraWhore had already been using one for 5 years. I'm kidding; she'd only recently started using one as well.

Literally within a couple of days, it was like someone had Photoshopped my forehead with the airbrush tool! I was really surprised. The wrinkles aren't completely gone (and I'm not interested in looking 16 anyway), but they're much less noticeable. For $14.99 at the drugstore, I am really happy with this product. I'm not sure I want a separate night moisturizer too at this seems the only major difference is that this one has sunscreen (a must for every day, duh). I just apply this anytime after washing my face.

pixi Eye Zone Brightener

I've been using this product for a few months now and am on my second tube. I resisted buying it for a while because of the $24 pricetag. But I felt like I looked tired all the time, and makeup alone wasn't doing the trick. I was drawn to the word "brightener" and decided to give it a go. It really does what it says it will do: it gives the area underneath your eyes a brightening, slightly energized boost. It contains hyaluronic acid to plump out fine wrinkles a bit. And though it doesn't stay white as you blend it into your skin, it does leave a whitish, highlighted look behind. I definitely feel like I look a little more awake with this product than without. Make sure to apply moisturizer before applying this product. The more moisture your skin contains to begin with, the less wrinkles will be noticeable. or at Target

pixi Eye Bright Kit

Well, I've been known to plunk down some cash on beauty products, but this is another one I waited a while to get because I wondered how a $24 concealer could be better than what I was using. However, now that I have it, I love it! I use it in conjunction with pixi's Eye Zone Brightener (it was after I discovered how good EZB was that I decided to give this one a shot as well). It's better than regular is a cutely packaged quad with 2 concealers, a cheek highlighter, and a brightener. I got the No. 1 Fair/Medium kit, and the concealers do a good job without looking cakey or creasy, and I especially love using the whitish brightener on the inner corners of my eyes. I've definitely decided pixi is worth the price. Between the two products, I feel like I look more refreshed. or at Target

L'Oreal Lash Boosting Serum & Double Extend Mascara {2-Piece Kit}

I have a lash thing. An obsession, really. An unhealthy, all-consuming obsession. I've tried just about every mascara under the sun that promises death-defying lengths. They show me a commercial where the models are obviously wearing fake lashes, and I tell myself I'm not falling for it this time, but then I inevitably do. Damn them. I've been a longtime fan of L'Oreal's Telescopic mascara. It's the one I always go back to. But with the new version of Double-Extend that includes a lash boosting primer, I think they have outdone themselves. My lashes look as long as they do with Telescopic but more hairlike and separated. I only wish they'd make the mascara end of the tube larger than the primer end because I run out of mascara much faster since I apply more than one coat. Oh, and I'd love if it came in the Carbon Black color too so it's as black as possible.

I tried the night serum on my lashes for almost a month. This product doesn't promise to lengthen your lashes. It's not marketed as a Latisse substitute (and btw, I'm way too afraid to try that stuff because I am not risking an eye color change for my vanity, and besides, it costs an arm and a leg). It is basically a lash conditioner that's apparently supposed to allow your lashes to remain in their growth cycle for longer, thereby giving them more of a chance, theoretically, to grow. In my experience, I DID notice obvious extra length! My lashes also got a little darker and seemed more voluminous, and I could see them better when not wearing mascara. Sadly, though, I had to quit using it because the alcohol in it started drying out my lashlines to the point where they were red and itchy. It bothered me enough to where I wasn't willing to put up with it. Maybe if it weren't wintertime, I wouldn't have this issue. I might try again in the spring or summer. But I really REALLY wish they'd remove alcohol from the ingredients. It seems like an oxymoron anyway when you're talking about a product that's supposed to condition, not dry. However, not everyone will have this problem, obviously. It's definitely worth your $12 to find out. The kit with both the serum and the mascara is about $24.95, which seems pretty reasonable to me for two products.

The only other thing bothering me is L'Oreal's rumored animal testing. We Narcissisters love our animals to pieces, and they're all rescues, and we can't bear the thought of animals suffering for our vanity. & major retailers

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Makeup, makeup, makeup!!!!!!!

I got this awesome haul from e.l.f. for a steeeaaaallll when they were offering 60% off the other day! Many of their products are only $1, and I don't think anything goes above $5. I've been buying cosmetics from them for years and am almost always impressed by the quality, especially for the price! Big review to come soon...which leads me to this.

I found an article online the other day with this opener:

There are beauty junkies and then there are…Beauty Junkies. Hillary Kosofsky, a 54-year-old nurse in New Jersey, has a serious jones for makeup and hair products. She walked us through her $30,000-plus beauty stash and revealed how it grew. And grew. And grew.

She brings up the point that she thinks she partially has this addiction due to feelings of insecurity and thinking that more, more, more will make her look and feel the way she wants to. (More here: A Beauty Addict Spills Her Secrets.)

Now, ask anyone...I have a LOT of beauty products, especially makeup. I've never counted anything. But it is at least contained in one of those plastic, four-drawer organizer things...and there is also stuff I keep in my purse, of course. Lip products are in the lead (mostly glosses, though I am really getting into lipstick again lately), followed by eye makeup, followed by face products (mostly anything with the words "shimmer" and "highlighter" in the name, as I find that extremely hard to resist). I did used to buy and buy makeup all the time, and I think part of it was an effort to transform my self-esteem, but mostly, ohhhh, how I just love the colors and the shinies from an artistic standpoint, and makeup is FUN. I've always been obsessed with it since I was a very small child watching my mom put hers on. But I am not the kind of gal who can't leave the house without wearing it either. I used to be, but no more - that's kind of a sad way to live. Due to becoming more secure in myself as I get older (who says nearing 30 is bad?), being on a budget, and just trying to be smart about it, I did at some point decide I was only buying new makeup if it was something I'd been using and ran out of or something unlike anything else I already own. e.l.f. makes it a little harder when they have a big sale and are already so cheap to begin with! But I still mostly stuck to my rules. Today, I put as many of the different things on my face as I could, and frankly, I'm surprised I'm not rolling around in the products on the floor!

Which brings us to the much is too much, and when does it become a problem??